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Redbox Plans To Launch New Streaming Service 'Redbox Digital' (consumerreports.org) 62

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Consumer Reports: Redbox, the movie and game-rental kiosk service, might be getting back into the streaming game a few years after its digital streaming service, Redbox Instant, failed. The new Redbox streaming service could be a pay-per-view option for rentals and purchases like Apple iTunes or Vudu. The trade publication Variety -- which broke the story, citing "multiple sources" familiar with the company -- said that the new service will be called Redbox Digital and that Redbox is close to launching a beta of the service. Compared to a subscription service, negotiating the rights to pay-per-view titles should be easier for Redbox. And since many Redbox streaming customers already use their site to search for and reserve titles, it would be much more convenient for them to be able to immediately order a digital version. Another potential benefit would be the price of the rentals. The reason why physical Redbox kiosks are popular is because the $1.50 rental price for DVDs, and $2 rental price for Blu-ray discs are relatively cheap. Redbox Digital may gain some attraction if, and only if, there are considerable savings for users, otherwise there would be little reason to choose Redbox over a more established pay-per-view service, such as Amazon Instant, Google Play, or Vudu.
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Redbox Plans To Launch New Streaming Service 'Redbox Digital'

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  • by rossdee ( 243626 ) on Monday March 28, 2016 @12:25AM (#51790383)

    FP?

    • by Dutch Gun ( 899105 ) on Monday March 28, 2016 @12:49AM (#51790459)

      What, you haven't seen their LP rentals?

      Seriously, though, the article is right that $1.50-$2.00 or so is the right price for a rental. Most streaming services currently charge a relatively high price for a rental, and it tends to put me off. For instance, right now on Amazon, they're charging $6.00 to rent "The Martian", a movie I'd much like to see (read the book and loved it). That price makes me hesitate, thinking "for about 2 1/2 times that price, I could own it". So far, I've purchased neither option, largely because I'm already paying for streaming services that have many other shows and movies to watch, and those only cost about $10 per month.

      A couple bucks per rental is in the "I don't even have to think about it" price range.

      • by fred911 ( 83970 )

        "for about 2 1/2 times that price, I could own it".

        And for the cost of a little research you could install Kodi/Xbmc, or the torrent client of your choice, screen it and choose to purchase it if you care to.

        • by Anonymous Coward
          And for the cost of a little research you could install Kodi/Xbmc, or the torrent client of your choice, bootleg it and choose to purchase it if you care to.

          Fixed that for you.
        • by kuzb ( 724081 )

          That's part of the problem, not the solution.

          • That's part of the problem, not the solution.

            Sort of. It's kind of a chicken-or-egg problem right now. You have the studios afraid of losing money to copyright infringement, and trying to make up perceived losses by controlling how distribution happens and at what cost. Then you have folks driven to bootleg video somewhat by cost, but mostly due to the (lack of) availability of content they want to see, when, and how.

            Frankly, as difficult as it is sometimes to find something in particular you want to see in some form you can actually watch, it tak

        • I have a media server with a fairly large library of DVDs and Blu-rays I've ripped. I've found that the simple convenience and affordability of streaming services makes them more attractive than collecting movies myself in most cases. Of course, there are always some that aren't available on the services I subscribe to, so it would be nice to have a reasonably priced rental option.

          I'm certainly not incapable of torrenting a movie for free. I'm just choosing to try to find a way to obtain it legally first

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by darthsilun ( 3993753 )
        $15 is a bit low for owning it on DVD; I've seen it on Costco for $18 on DVD, higher on BluRay. Wait a while and you'll probably be able to get the DVD for $12.

        OTOH I did see it in the theater for $10. Big screen was well worth it for the stunning visuals.

        Now that I've watched it two more times on a six inch screen during a flight I'm not sure I'd bother owning it. (Yes, I've read the book too.).

        And having worked at JPL the "JPL scenes" that aren't actually at JPL leave me a tad underwhelmed. Not to m
      • Yeah, I saw The Martian for $1.50 lol

        It would need to be lower priced for me to want to stream it, being the same price wouldn't get me there. I don't want to pause randomly and wait for a buffer to fill, or have the resolution change because of "squirrels" or whatever the excuse.

        • Yeah, I saw The Martian for $1.50 lol

          It would need to be lower priced for me to want to stream it, being the same price wouldn't get me there. I don't want to pause randomly and wait for a buffer to fill, or have the resolution change because of "squirrels" or whatever the excuse.

          Saving me the drive is worth the resolution difference for me. To each to their own

      • Given the cost of a monthly subscription to Netflix, asking more money for a streamed movie vs a rented DVD would be insane and yet from the article it seems that's what Redbox plans on doing. Shouldn't streaming cost less than a DVD rental?

        If they were able to rent discs for $1.50/$2.00, streaming shouldn't cost more than $0.99/$1.49.

        Anyway, I don't care since Redbox doesn't exist in Canada anymore and I'm guessing their streaming service will be U.S.A.-only.

    • by goombah99 ( 560566 ) on Monday March 28, 2016 @02:03AM (#51790661)

      How is it possible this story fails to use the word "netflix"? Redbox is nice and I use it when I want burst mode on my DVDs that I can't get from Netflix but it so far has few things netflix doesn't and netlfix is cheaper. Redbox also get expensive when you screw up, and indeed that happens. Netflix is slowly calving off it's DVD from its streaming service. I assume there is a financial logic here but at face value that's dumb. Integrate them. They open the door for Redbox more by doing that. BUT, here's why I'm pretty sure they are splitting them. If they are separate then the content producers can't charge them more for a DVD than it's face value, and they can even negotiate for less than face value. But if they are integrated the producers can hold the streaming service hostage to claw even more cash for the DVD rentals. Redbox is opening themselves up to this blackmail on their core rental bussiness if they make streaming and rentals combined.

      • Because of how redbox rentals work, there is no reason to even consider the scenario of combined service.

      • by sycodon ( 149926 )

        Netflix: Where 80% of the movie description start like this: "not to be confused with the blockbuster..."

        Their content consists of decades old TV shows and mostly B movies and B actors. There is stuff being shown on TMC and SciFi channels that aren't availabel to stream on Netflix.

  • by Noah Haders ( 3621429 ) on Monday March 28, 2016 @12:57AM (#51790487)

    > Redbox Plans To Launch New Streaming Service 'Redbox Digital'

    They should call it RedTube.

  • Netflix was successful specifically because it was a flat rate. People are done getting nickled and dimed to death by hollywood for content. Pay per view will fail like every other service that has attempted it.

    • Right, but redbox is great for people who consume less hollywood content than that, for whom a flat fee would just be a hollywood tax.

      It has a reasonable chance of success with the people who already use redbox, but aren't using a streaming service. They could even sell the streamed rental from the machine; out of the one you wanted? You can still stream it! That would reasonably target people who otherwise would not stream anything, they'd just rent something they wanted less, and be less satisfied.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        >It has a reasonable chance of success with the people who already use redbox, but aren't using a streaming service

        In my experience, those people still get DVDs because they don't have the bandwidth to support a streaming service. Either because, like in my area, no one sold anything faster than 3/.384 DSL or because they don't feel it's worth paying for. I can't imagine people would use Redbox over existing services unless they got a great discount, or Redbox carried videos that the others couldn't.

        • I am one of those people who will walk down to the local walgreens and rent a movie from redbox after seeing it show up on Amazon for $5 rental. Why the crap should I rent for almost 3x the price?

          If Redbox could somehow make it so that it could be as convenient as Amazon... well that would be a no brainer, but I don't see how that could possibly pull that off and make a profit since it is the content rights holders who set the price.

        • My family rents a Redbox video maybe twice per month, meaning we spend about $3-$4. Netflix is $9 for the service itself, so just on that Netflix costs more.

          In addition, although faster internet with higher caps is certainly available, we have no reason to pay for it since we don't stream movies. Upgrading the internet would be another $20 per month or whatever. So really Netflix would cost us $29/month, if we used to more than a couple times per month.

          With our current internet we can stream once or twice

          • ...faster internet with higher caps is certainly available... With our current internet we can stream once or twice per month...

            Stream once or twice per month? How low is your monthly data cap? Do you browse the Web without images or what?

            • Stream once or twice per month? How low is your monthly data cap?

              Data allowances of satellite and fixed cellular Internet service, popular in rural areas unserved by DSL or cable, are on the order of 10 GB per month. (Sources: Exede; Verizon)

            • > Stream once or twice per month?

              We rent a movie once or twice per month. We could stream it instead of renting on DVD.

              > How low is your monthly data cap?

              I didn't say we could ONLY stream once or twice per month. I don't actually recall what the soft cap is, but I've hit it before, so our typical usage isn't too far from the (soft) cap.

              > Do you browse the Web without images or what?

              An image might be 10 KB or so (depending on the image). A Netflix movie is about 3,800,000 KB. So one movie is the eq

              • Images on the Web, 10KB or so? Are you only viewing websites from 1996? I often encounter multi-megabytes JPEG backgrounds and "retina" photos that have four times as many pixels as my display. So it's more like 3800 images. Still less, but not as low as you seem to think.

    • Wait till they implement FlexPricing TM...

      "Demand is off the charts! Charges have increased to get more movies on the Intertubes

      OR

      "Demand for your requested movie has fallen. As rights-holders don't release content for less than $10,000 a day, your account has been automatically charged $115.99 to cover costs of this content. Please speak to customer service for 30 minutes if you no longer wish to view this movie.

      • by kuzb ( 724081 )

        I'm not worried about this. The internet has a built in failsafe against corporate greed when it comes to media. When the price becomes unreasonable, or the media becomes hard to access a large number of people will return to piracy instead of paying.

        It's been shown that if the price is fair and it's convenient to get the content that people will pay. If they forget this, those same people will remind them.

  • A La VidAngel? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Brawnson ( 1281590 ) on Monday March 28, 2016 @05:54AM (#51791105)
    Perhaps they are going to copy VidAngel [vidangel.com]. They have a system that effectively allows $1 streaming rentals ($2 for HD) of movies, including new releases. Redbox could potentially copy this idea, especially since VidAngel filters their movies because they want to claim to be a family friendly business.
    • by OzPeter ( 195038 )

      VidAngel filters their movies because they want to claim to be a family friendly business.

      I was at lunch with some colleagues of mine last week and they were extolling the virtues of VidAngel. But I almost cracked up when one of mentioned that he had been holding off from watching Game Of Thrones because of the language, but now with this great service from VidAngel he can watch a family friendly version! I was imagining GoT sort of like the (apocryphal) South Korean version of the Sound of Music that cut out all the songs.

      • I love how your friend singles out the *language* as the offensive bit...

        • by OzPeter ( 195038 )

          I love how your friend singles out the *language* as the offensive bit...

          Yeah .. I was rolling my eyes at that too. But in some ways this is a very conservative state and when then say OMG the G stands for Gosh.

  • Hopefully they will have more selection than a few good movies and a bunch of B movies that no one has ever heard of, like the kiosks seem to have.

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